Summerville geared to face rival Berkeley

John McKissick

Wade Spees

Summerville football coach John McKissick knows longtime rival Berkeley has a lot of new faces for this season and that many of the team's key players are only sophomores.

"But they have that same old tradition," said McKissick, whose team travels to Berkeley today for a 7:30 p.m. showdown. "They've got a great tradition. They have a long tradition."

The Stags have won four state championships in the last 30 years, the most recent in 2009. But coach Jerry Brown stepped down after last season and was replaced by Jeff Cruce.

Berkeley is a young team experiencing growing pains. The Stags lost a scrimmage to Goose Creek by a 56-12 margin and trailed Wando 59-0 after three quarters. They opened the season with a 28-0 loss to Stratford.

"It will be a different team than the one we saw against Stratford," McKissick said. "Berkeley is young and is going to get better every week. They could come out with some changes this week."

At Summerville, quarterback Dalton Saunders is back for his third season as a starter. He's passed for more than 5,000 yards in his career.

Nigel Frierson is this year's featured running back, replacing Shrine Bowl running back De'angelo Henderson. He carried 33 times for 150 yards and a score in the Green Wave's 34-19 victory over Conway.

"Nigel picked up the pace in the second half," said McKissick. "He's not as fast as De'angelo and his success depends on how he focuses on a game. I told him he doesn't have to be De'angelo. He needs to be Nigel Frierson."

Three Conway turnovers set up Summerville scores last week. Another interception at the Green Wave goal line cost Conway six points.

Darrin Smalls and Ryan Fowler both had interceptions, while Matt Halter and Christian Campbell both recovered fumbles for Summerville.

"We were real lucky," McKissick said. "We were real lucky thanks to some turnovers. But you can't do a game plan based on turnovers. You can't count on the other team making mistakes. I was pleased with our defense, though. They hustled, played hard and played fast."

Fowler led Summerville in tackles with 17 and Halter had 12. Matt White and Campbell both had 11 tackles against Conway. while Matt Blanton chipped in with three sacks.